As I reported earlier, the Venetian was rather quietly fined a while back for several violations, including the rigging of a contest–a game of chance. I would think this would tend to discredit the legal casino industry in Nevada and would provoke a few license revocations, but it actually only garnered a million-dollar fine.
Well, one employee responsible has been lectured by the Gaming Control Board. From the LV Sun:
Roger Chuen Po Mok, formerly the senior vice president of Asian marketing for The Venetian, acknowledged that what he did was wrong in an emotional appearance before the state Gaming Control Board. Flanked by attorney Bill Curran, Mok — identified publicly for his role in the incident for the first time — said he schemed to rig drawings for prizes out of loyalty to his employer and his desire to please a good customer.
Mok and three others were fired after the scheme was uncovered in 2002. Earlier this year, The Venetian was ordered to pay a $1 million fine after a 12-count complaint against the resort was settled.
“Some poor choices were made in being loyal to my employer,” Mok read from a prepared statement.
Regulators never named the employees who were responsible for the rigging of the drawings for a Mercedes-Benz sports utility vehicle and two gambling chips, valued at $20,000 and $10,000, during a 2002 Chinese New Year celebration.
Mok said he rigged the drawing because a high-roller he was hosting lost $5 million gambling and the employee “didn’t want to see him go home empty-handed.”
But that’s not all. Mok was also rapped for trying to cover up:
“What you did not only discredited you, but it discredited the state of Nevada,” said board Chairman Dennis Neilander.
Board member Bobby Siller said while the scheme to rig the drawing was a major judgment error, Mok worsened it by lying to state gaming investigators summoned by The Venetian. Siller compared the additional damage inflicted by attempting to cover up the scheme with the trouble former President Richard Nixon brought upon himself during the Watergate burglary investigation.
“You are now living with the consequences of your actions,” Siller said. “There were consequences to your employer, which had to pay a severe fine, and there were consequences to your co-workers, who were fired along with you.”
Venetian contest rigger lectured by regulatorsLet me put this into personal perspective. When I worked in a casino doing security, I was in mortal dread of having my license revoked, which could have happened for virutally anything, it seemed. To this day, if I am walking in a casino and I see a quarter on the ground, I will not pick it up, because if I had been seen doing so as an employee I would have been immediately fired and had my license yanked.
Gaming violations are very serious, because they threaten the integrity of the business. If the games of chance aren’t really run by chance, why bother playing?
I didn’t read anywhere in the article that investigators had conclusively proved that Mok was alone planning and executing the contest-rigging scheme. The phrase that bothers me is: “he schemed to rig drawings for prizes out of loyalty to his employer.” Does that mean that someone higher up asked him to do so?
We may never know the complete story, but this telling of it seems a bit…incomplete.